CRAWFORD NOTCH, N.H.- – The Appalachian Mountain Club’s Highland Center at Crawford Notch is the setting for the exhibition, “The Painted Sketch: Crawford Notch,” by artist, Michael E. Vermette, which is set to be on display from Sept. 1–Oct. 29, in the Mt. Willard Dining Room.
The exhibit features Vermette’s contemporary painted sketches created in the “plein air” style, outdoors in the White Mountain National Forest and Crawford Notch State Park, and at the Highland Center site.
An opening reception and gallery talk are set for Friday, Sept. 1, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., at the Highland Center on U.S. Route 302 in Crawford Notch. Dinner will be available for purchase that evening.
The exhibit is free and open to the public when the space is not otherwise in use.
Vermette served as artist in residence at the Highland Center for a week last fall and a week last winter. During those residencies, he created 11 painted oil sketches and 11 watercolor sketches that were made completely outdoors (en plein air) within the region. Sometimes working near the lodge, other times snowshoeing to a site with his studio on his back, he painted in cold weather amid challenging conditions. Each painting was rendered within a two- to three-hour block of time on location to capture the light. “Each painting was an adventure that tells a story,” he says.
Crawford Notch has long been an inspiration for artists drawn by the majesty of the surrounding peaks and crags. White Mountain School of Art painters frequented the area in the 19th and early 20th centuries to practice plein air outdoor landscape painting. One of the school’s more famous members, Frank Shapleigh, worked from his art studio in what is now the Shapleigh Bunkhouse on the Highland Center site.
Vermette’s expressive paintings show a love of color and light. In his evocative oils, watercolors, and pastels, he emboldens color by putting into practice traditional methods of the masters to cause the pigment to be brighter, richer, and more translucent.
The artist double-majored in painting and printmaking at the Maine College of Art, receiving his B.F.A. painting degree in 1980. He holds a K-12 art education certificate and has been an art educator for 22 years. A full-time artist and part-time teacher, Vermette has been painting in oil, watercolor, and pastel for more than 45 years and has won numerous awards for his work, including the Loran Coleman, Beverly, and Marilyn Sabin Awards at the New England Watercolor Society, where he is a signature member. He is also a first place, second place, and honorable mention winner at the Castine Plein Air Festival in Maine and has participated in several Cape Elizabeth Land Trust “Paint for Preservation” art auctions at Cape Elizabeth, Maine.
Vermette leads several plein air workshops in watercolor and oil painting in Maine and New Hampshire throughout the year. His watercolors, oils, and pastels are in private collections, and his works have been shown in various Maine galleries, including the North Light Gallery in Millinocket, the Lupine Gallery on Monhegan Island, the Farme and Art Gallery in Falmouth and The Gleason Fine Art Gallery in Boothbay Harbor.
For more information on the exhibit, call the Highland Center at (603) 278-4453, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Founded in 1876, the Appalachian Mountain Club promotes the protection, enjoyment, and understanding of the mountains, forests, waters, and trails of America’s Northeast. AMC helps people of all ages and abilities to explore and develop a deep appreciation of the natural world. With chapters from Maine to Washington, D.C., guidebooks and maps, and unique lodges and huts, AMC helps people get outdoors on their own, with family and friends, and through activities close to home and beyond. AMC invites the public to support its conservation advocacy and research, youth programming, and care of 1,800 miles of trails. More information is available at www.outdoors.org.